Monday, 21 October 2019

ten of dowels

Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake, we are introduced to the handiwork of a creative called Hundred-Armed Sweater (that would be for the Hecatonkherires on your gift-list) through her IKEA-inspired tarot deck, recognising that the store and experience represents “a place of transition, a journey, a source of light and comfort but also strife.” The deck includes the major and four full suites of minor arcana.

Sunday, 20 October 2019


H and I had the chance to observe an interesting agricultural event when the shepherds bring the sheep and goats down from hilltop pastures to the valley in a village not far away. It was quite well attended with human spectators perhaps outnumbering the livestock being herded and driven to their winter quarters. 

Though cattle were also present, the stars of the day were the distinctive Rhön sheep (Rhönschaf) whose single flock numbered over one thousand, the breed nearly having gone extinct in the 1960s and now their numbers, with the help of a nature conservancy and the green belt across Europe that marks the former border between NATO and the Warsaw Pact have safely returned, led through a rather narrow channel thronged by a human audience—not unlike the scene in Pamplona with the Running of the Bulls.


From 1942 to 1990, Arnold Odermatt was employed as a forensics photographer for the Swiss canton of Nidwalden whose extensive portfolio documents encroaching modernity into this once isolated area, especially in traffic accidents, taking a second photograph for his own personal collection once the injured had been taken away.
Though his fascination is morbid and inscrutable as his motivation was never stated and the existence of the images were only disclosed by accident (his filmmaker son discovering the trove in a box in the attic one day and published them in a book that garnered attention in the late 1990s at the Frankfurter Buchmesse), there is, one might conjecture, a restorative property in seeing these husks of vehicles in an austere light, unmoving without drivers and passengers. Much more to explore at the link above including several galleries of Odermatt’s compositions, which includes many candid, happy scenes artfully captured as well.

anakin starkiller

In the duo’s reinterpretation of John Williams’ Imperial March as synthwave, a retrofuture emulation of and tribute to 1980s film and arcade soundtracks that’s sort of the electronic music version of the cyberpunk aesthetic, the Awesomer introduces us to the musical stylings of Litiowave, who have made quite a few covers as well as original works. As the leitmotif (see also) associated with Dark Vader—and its use to denote rivalry outside of the franchise, the symphonic theme is one of the best known among all movies.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

upward mobility

Via Weird Universe we are introduced to this rather intriguing and ingenuous business architectural feature in the June 1948 issue of Popular Science and left wanting to know more. Only a few column inches are dedicated to this structure with a corner office that moves up and down the building’s fourteen storeys (the rest of the staff used paternosters) located in Zlín but we were able to find out a bit more.
The town itself urban utopia (see also) and a manufacturing anchor of the Moravian region in large part due to the shoemaking factory founded by siblings Tomáš, Anna and Antonín Baťa in 1894, the skyscraper was build as the administrative headquarters for their successful footwear brand. The third tallest pre-war building in Europe executed in Constructivist style, it is now known as Building № 21 (Číslo 21) and cherished as a cultural monument, houses offices of the regional government. Going abroad during the World War II, the boss never had a chance to use his mobile office and there’s unconscionably no indication whether this seeming unique idea was ever tried anywhere else or why such an idea was abandoned.

super saturday

Convening on a weekend, which is not usually done as business and the markets cannot react to changes in government policy and not the Commons had not sat since the Falklands conflict, Parliament met to hopefully hash out Brexit once and for all—or not, after the prime minister secured a slap-dash deal to leaving the European Union that for some was less palatable than the terms his predecessor set forth that failed to pass on multiple occasions. Whether this arrangement will be ratified is far from clear as are the next steps, setting up a scenario for perpetual and Sisyphean debate.


Via our peripatetic friends at Strange Company, we are reacquainted with the figure of polymath and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (previously here, here and here, *1769 - †1859) through his educationally enhanced maps and charts (see also).
The naturalist’s perhaps greatest legacy as a science communicator was his ability to unleash information formerly discrete and disperse (relatedly) and compile figures and synthesise them visually, like this cross section that imparted vegetation topographically and appealed to curiosity through presentation. More to explore at the links above.